I enjoy going on the road: discovering offbeat restaurants, meeting new people, eating, seeing new places, finding great food.
Did I mention I like to travel for food? It’s true.
But I hate getting ready for a trip. I look at it as a chore, an unpaid job and a source of extreme stress.
I like the planning portion of a trip. I want to do the research: look up routes and maps, admission prices and history. I print and punch holes and place everything in a loose-leaf binder, tagged and sorted by date, city and activity type. Yes, I know I could do this on a Blackberry, an iPhone or other digital planner, and have a Siri-like reminder tell me what’s next each minute of each day of my trip. Oh, and I could use my iPad to take notes on the trip. I hate to break it to you, but I still use paper notebooks. At least I’ve moved into the twentieth century and switched to a digital camera, so give me a little tech credit.
My distaste for the travel procedure centers around packing. I hate to do it. I can never decide what to take, what to leave behind, and when I do make my choices, how to make them fit without making the bag look less like an overstuffed turkey and more like the suitcase of a seasoned, sensible traveler.
Maybe the problem is that I begin to pack too early, like two weeks before the trip. I give myself too much time to plan and think and ruminate about what I want to take, when I should consider only what I really need. I pack for every possible bad scenario, instead of realizing that if the worst case scenario happens, I will still be close enough to civilization to buy what I need.
I have no idea how people visit third-world countries for a month with only a backpack and duffel bag, much less consider sharing a single suitcase with their spouse. I’ll be doing the latter with mine, and I’ll let you know how that turns out – assuming we survive being in the same car for a week.